Sept. 11, 2008
NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Vanderbilt’s soccer team closes out its non-conference road slate this weekend with a pair of games against Missouri and Saint Louis.
The Commodores are 5-0 and face nationally ranked Missouri on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the Audrey J. Walton Soccer Complex. A win over the 34th ranked Tigers would match the 1998 team’s school record 6-0 start.
MU is 2-2 on the year with both losses coming against Top 20 teams. They lost to No. 17 Illinois 2-1 in overtime on Aug. 23 and to No. 21 California 3-0 on Sept. 6. Vanderbilt is the second team Missouri has faced from the Southeastern Conference. MU defeated Auburn 1-0 on Aug. 29. Five different Missouri players have scored a goal to lead the team, while junior goalkeeper Tasha Dittmore sports a 1.24 goals against average with two shutouts in four games.
The Tigers are ranked No. 8 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Central Region poll, while the Commodores are at No. 13. This is the first ever-regular season meeting on the soccer field between the schools. The teams tied 2-2 in an exhibition contest two years ago in Nashville.
Saint Louis is 3-0-1 on the year and will host VU on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Hermann Stadium. The Billikens defeated Big 12 power Nebraska 1-0 last Friday at home and then tied Missouri State 0-0 on Sunday.
SLU has been an impressive team at home holding a 70-17-4 record at Hermann Stadium since it reopened in 1999. One of those losses came at the hands of the Commodores via a 1-0 score in the 2003 campaign. VU leads the all-time series 2-1 with the previous two games played in Nashville.
Saint Louis leads the Atlantic 10 conference in shots per game at 17.25 while Vanderbilt leads the SEC at 28.20 per contest. Senior Molly Hartmann leads the Billikens in scoring with two goals in four games. Freshman goalkeeper Hannah Perry sports a 0.24 goals against average with three shutouts and 20 saves on the year.
Vanderbilt is one of a select few clubs in the country still undefeated entering this weekend’s play. Freshman Candace West vaulted into the team lead in scoring with two goals and an assist in last Sunday’s come from behind win over Tennessee Tech. Sophomore Lindsay Ratterman also has two goals while seven other Commodores have a goal apiece. Freshman Emily Grant leads the club in assists with three.
The defense has allowed just two goals in five games and sophomore defender Megan Eddings was awarded SEC Defensive Player of the Week plaudits for her contributions to the team’s success. She also was named to Soccer America’s Team of the Week. VU has three shutouts through the first five games, already half of last season’s total of six.
Sophomore forward Molly Kinsella continues to lead the conference in shots (30), shots on goal (17) and shots on goal per game (3.40). Sophomore goalkeeper Rachel Bachtel is tied for second in the league in shutouts with three and is also second in goals against average at 0.39.
The two games in Missouri close out the non-conference road slate for the year. The Commodores will return home to start a five game home stand next Sunday against UAB. The contest against the Blazers will end the non-conference season with the remaining 11 games on the docket against SEC foes.